We could see clouds in front of us, and I remember thinking “Are they water vapour clouds, or are they volcanic ash? Volcanic ash and air-intakes in helicopters don’t go very well…” Continue reading Out of the volcano — Dr John Bonning
Two events in the past twelve months have granted me greater insight into life and death.
It has been a year of reflection, a year to reflect on life and death. Continue reading Mooki and Ben — Dr Steve Doherty
The days were hot. Bushfires raged. Ruby’s neighbours had chosen to escape the heat and head for the coast. Ruby didn’t know or didn’t tell. She was determined to be in her own home.
She was found by a neighbour – on the floor, next to the airconditioning unit. Continue reading Ruby – Dr Simon Judkins
Our job as emergency medicine specialists requires a certain mental toughness. We spend years learning the ropes, understanding the incredible complexity of the human body and its extraordinary ability to recover from harm if given the right treatment. Trauma – when someone suffers significant physical injury, often due to a violent event of some kind – can be challenging. People can arrive at the emergency … Continue reading Over a dozen times – Dr Stephen Gourley
I chose a career in emergency medicine because it was the only specialty I could imagine in my 20s that would interest and challenge me when I was 50 and beyond. I’m 50 now and in most ways I was right. I have the best job in the world and am still excited coming into work. I’m the Director of Emergency Medicine at the Royal … Continue reading One crash — five families – Dr Didier Palmer
The ambulance had radioed ahead: 32-year-old male, motorcycle vs truck. He was unconscious, with an obvious head injury. Vital signs were stable, intubated at the scene. The ambulance was five minutes away.
The team follows a well-drilled routine when he arrives. We transfer him onto the trauma trolley: careful with the breathing tube; keep the neck immobilised; watch out for lines. Everyone gets on with their job – calm, efficient… Continue reading Close to the bone – Dr Anthony Cross
I had found something that ticked all the boxes. I had a home, a team and more than enough variety to keep a generalist happy. There were plenty of opportunities for excellence. I even had enough time for a life outside of work. I remain very happy with the choice I made to become an emergency physician. I still love the challenge of diagnosis, stabilisation and treatment. I love leading the team, sharing the highs and lows with them. When I was training, the challenge for me was to become a good emergency physician. I think that happened somewhere along the way.
But now, there are other challenges and goals to face. Continue reading On his own terms – Dr Stephen Parnis
I’m on my knees in the wet sand, leaning over a woman younger than me. She’s clothed in jeans and a t-shirt, which has been pulled down to expose her chest. She is cold and grey. Her eyes stare, pupils huge and cloudy. My impression is she’s dead. I insert the airway tube and frothy pink water gushes out of her windpipe. She has no pulse. We strip off her wet clothes, trying to let the sun warm her.
The rip dragged her out. Continue reading I can probably help – Dr Venita Munir
A needle goes into her leg for medications while we continue with CPR. The monitor shows no heartbeat at all. It’s a well-practised drill. We know what to do and we do it: chest compressions, adrenaline in, a tube in the airway to breathe for her, more adrenaline. A bit more of this, more of that. We go for twenty minutes, maybe thirty, there’s no heartbeat; we’re not winning. Ten more minutes . . . this is bad, very bad. Continue reading Everything we can – Dr Simon Judkins
I meet them in the ED and wait with them in the line for triage. There’s an odd mixture of embarrassment and urgency when you wait in line in your own ED. You don’t want to be noticed, even though you are dressed in normal clothes and there isn’t a sign over your head saying ‘I work here!’, but that being said, you know what’s going on; you know there’s a real chance your loved one is sick and your ED will be able to care for them. Continue reading Through the curtain – Dr Joe-Anthony Rotella